The Life of Erin

Married life, home projects, music, travel, movies, politics, random stuff I think of on a daily basis

I need your opinions. November 29, 2007

Filed under: photography — erinp @ 10:58 pm
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I’ve been playing around with Photoshop, which has got to be one of the coolest and most complicated programs ever, and I need you to critique something I did to a photo.  You may have seen this photo in a recent post about Temple Ambler:

I really liked the sculpture on top and wanted to make it into something funky and abstract so this is what I have come up with so far:

Are any of those the least bit interesting?  I don’t expect them to be good, or works of art, but I wanted to do something different with a photo I took.  Please post comments with ideas and criticisms.  Thanks!



I learned a new word.  A firkin is a small keg equivalent to one portion of a barrel.  I have conflicting information as to exactly how much–Wikipedia says it’s 1/4 of a barrel, the Metro says it’s 1/3–but I really like this word. 

According to Wikipedia, “A Firkin is an old English unit of volume. The name is derived from the Middle Dutch word vierdekijn, which means fourth, i.e. a fourth of a full-size barrel. The firkin (a firkin of water) is the base unit of mass in the FFF (Furlong/Firkin/Fortnight) System of units.”  I recommend going to this Wikipedia site and reading everything about the firkin because there’s a really cool table of measurements on it. 

Another online dictionary defines firkin as: “Any of several British units of capacity, usually equal to about 1/4 of a barrel or 9 gallons (34 liters).”

So I guess the Metro was wrong, surprise surprise.

So on to my next point, I found out about this word because Standard Tap, in Philadelphia, recently offered firkins of beer to their customers.  Which brings me to my next and final point, which is that Yards Brewing Company, whose brewery was formerly located on a hidden back alley in Fishtown and was a favorite destination of Matt’s and mine, is reopening at Delaware Ave. and Girard. The current brewery will be turned into a Philadelphia Brewing Company, the owners being the same as the Standard Tap’s.  (See how I am connecting this all together?  I wasn’t sure how I was going to so that when I started talking about firkins.)

I am really hoping that Yards continues its tradition of free tours and tastings on Saturdays at their new location.  Fun stuff. 


America actually got it right November 28, 2007

I’ll admit it.  I watched Dancing with the Stars for a second year in a row.  I was sucked in last year when Apolo Anton Ohno was one of the stars and thus the addiction began.  I became disheartened this year when a certain outspoken and disillusioned “entertainer” and doll-maker kept getting voted through and ended up getting enough votes for a slot in the top three couples.  Before the finale last night I had bouts of panic and my confidence rating in the intelligence of the American people kept dropping lower than it had ever been before. 

But America pulled through last night.  Julianne and Helio earned their well-deserved mirror-ball trophy, the doll-maker came in third, and all was right with the world.

Now let’s see if America can pull through again next year when it comes time to voting in the presidential election.  One can hope.

Julianne and Helio’s award-winning quickstep:


Emma Clarke, Voice of the Tube November 27, 2007

Filed under: Funny stuff,news and politics,travel — erinp @ 10:12 am
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**Update** Emma’s site is now functional–enjoy! 

I couldn’t wait until Bizarre News Story Wednesday to post this hysterical news.  If you’ve ever been to London and ridden on the tube, you are familiar with the female recorded voice that announces “Mind the gap” or “Thank you for riding the tube.”

You would never stop to think about the woman behind the voice, would you?  At least, I never did.  Supposedly, she has an established fan base and has even recorded some “mock” announcements that aren’t so “helpful.”  She recently got fired for these jokes and you can read about it here.

Ironically (and disappointingly) Emma’s personal website, where you can listen to MP3s of her spoofs, is not currently working.  I’ll let you know if she ever has it up and running again.

Here is another article on Emma, and neither links in the text to hear the real and made-up announcements are working. 

You can read here about the history behind the “Mind the gap” announcement.


Wine Warehouse November 25, 2007

Filed under: wine — erinp @ 11:23 am
Tags: ,

Matt made his first big sale to a wine distributor in North Carolina, so this weekend he had to go package it up and get it ready for the delivery truck.  I went to the warehouse with him to see what it was all about.  There are about 20 different Philadelphia-based distributors that use the space to store their products and this place was huge.  I had never seen so much wine and beer in one place.  I wandered around while Matt packaged the wine.  Here are some photos.

Matt showing off his section of the warehouse.

Cotes du Rhone!

Look at that–a 9 liter bottle of champagne!

Port from 1922.

I have got to try this stuff.

Salmon Run and Dr. Frank’s!


Matt starting his packaging.

The finished product.

These are some of Matt’s wines and sakes, if you are ever looking for something to buy:


The very unassuming warehouse and pallets out front.


Thanksgiving(s) November 24, 2007

Filed under: Family,food,Thanksgiving — erinp @ 10:21 am
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Matt and I (mostly Matt) cooked our first Thanksgiving dinner together this year!  It went fairly smoothly and in the end the food was delicious.  Of course, in my excitement, I forgot to take photos of anything. 

First, here are the appetizers of cheese, crackers, walnuts, dried cherries, salami, cornichons, and olives.  The white mixture in the middle bowl is a delicious mixture of goat cheese and honey that Matt made.

Our table setting:

I love salt and pepper shakers:

The turkey mid-doneness:

Matt feverishly cooking:

Then Matt’s mom and step-dad came over, we drank, we ate, we drank more, ate more, they left, and I have no pictures of any of it. 

On Friday night we went over to my parents’ house to have a leftovers Thanksgiving.  First of all, my Mom asked me to buy this tacky but adorable plastic snowman from Lowes for my dad.  We plugged it in at the front doorbell and ran away.  He thought it was hysterical:

Mmmm.   Thanksgiving leftovers buffet-style.  The best kind. 

Andrew in his natural habitat:

I don’t know what was wrong with these two but they were huddled in front of the space heater while the rest of us melted:

Chad was knitting the whole time.  He finished a beautiful scarf:

After playing two games of Scene it, our Thanksgiving hangovers were getting the best of us so we all stumbled home.  The snowman watched us leave.


The Rainbow Connection November 21, 2007

It seems like lately you can’t mention anything about rainbows or rainbow colors without someone making a gay comment.  Do you remember the Rainbow Connection?  Somewhere Over the Rainbow?  Now, these references certainly had their undertones, but there was once a time when rainbows simply meant that the sun had come out during the rain to form a miracle of nature. 

Yesterday I made some rainbow earrings because I thought they looked pretty.  Matt asked if it was going to be my Gay Pride piece of jewelry for the Craft Fair I am selling in and I honestly hadn’t thought about it like that, although it would be cool to create a line of rainbow jewelry that contributes to AIDs awareness or some other kind of charity of the sort.

At what point did rainbow=gay pride?  I think it’s wonderful that the gay community has such a recognizable symbol these days, but what if they don’t want to constantly be identified as such whenever a rainbow flag or sign of any type pops up just because it’s “pretty?”

This article got me thinking even more about the symbolism of the rainbow in the gay community and other symbols people use to express themselves.

Whose right is it to determine what each “symbol” stands for?  Is it up to the individual or the community?  Certain symbols mean entirely different things in different cultures around the world that cause misunderstanding and conflict, so how is the United States supposed to unite when people can’t tolerate their neighbors’ choices of expression?

It’s 3 am and I have insomnia so I’m sorry if this post came off as a rambling idiocy.  Let me know your thoughts on this matter, or if you just think I’m an idiot. 

(P.S. The article I linked to is my Bizarre News Wednesday story.)